Former Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has opened up about his frustration with his most recent injury and the fact he’s only now fit for a return to Octagon after being out for so long.
When the UFC acquired the World Extreme Cagefighting roster back in 2011, big things were expected of Cruz as he was the undisputed champion at 135 pounds at the time, including two successful title defences.
Cruz continued his fine form under the UFC banner with successful title defences against Urijah Faber and then Demetrius Johnson, both in 2011.
However, the 33 year-old’s career has been blighted by injury. Since that fight with Johnson in October 2011, “The Dominator” has only fought four times with his last fight coming back in December 2016 where he lost the bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt.
Cruz recently appeared on “The MMA Hour” to provide an update on his rehabilitation from his latest setback and explained that by not electing to have surgery on his injured arm it doubled the recovery time.
“What happened is broke my arm and the bone didn’t shift, so since it didn’t shift I didn’t get surgery right away,” Cruz told Luke Thomas. “They said, ‘The bone will fill in the gap on its own, it will heal and everything will be okay.’ Three and a half months later, that did not take place. The bone did not fill in and since I did not get surgery, the bone was not strong.
“Three months into my arm breaking, when it initially took place, I now have to go to the doctor and they say, ‘Well, on second thought you do need surgery.’ So that four month injury turns into now a seven, eight month injury.”
Despite the incorrect diagnosis, Cruz blames himself for not electing to have the surgery right away. Although he said his decision to try and have the bone heal naturally came down to the fact he’d already missed years of his fighting recovering from the numerous surgeries to his knees.
Cruz announced he is back training in the gym after the surgery and is now waiting on an official clearance before speaking with UFC matchmakers on his next opponent.
“Now that I’ve had the surgery, I’m finally healing and I’m finally training again and doing my thing,” Cruz said. “But I still have time before it’s cleared by the doctor from that surgery. It seems like forever because the first three months I was waiting to heal and it didn’t heal.”
Cruz will be an interested spectator of the next bantamweight title fight between the current holder T.J. Dillashaw, the man Cruz beat via a split decision back in January 2016 and Garbrandt, who he lost to in his last bout.
The rematch between Dillashaw and Garbrandt takes place on Aug. 4 at UFC 227. Garbrandt will be looking for redemption against his former teammate who beat him by a second-round TKO at UFC 217 in November last year. Despite the loss, Cruz believes Garbrandt will get his revenge this time out.
“I think it’ll go a little bit longer, this one, but I also think that Cody gets it this time and they’re going to end up having a rubber match or something somewhere down the line,” Cruz said. “I don’t care either way, I’m going to end up fighting both these guys, so it doesn’t really matter how their fight goes for me personally. For the world, I think Cody gets it done this time, probably.
“It’s hard to get that title and then to keep it is a whole other thing. It’s a good thing for these guys that they’ve had long breaks in between their defenses, so that’ll really help because they’re probably much more healthy since they had the break.”